Chicago, Il., May 9th, 2003 — With charges that Azteca Foods violated U.S. labor law by committing unfair labor practices settled, Azteca workers have decided to end their seven month long strike, unanimously voting to continue their fight for justice and a first contract inside the plant.
During the seven months that they were on strike, not a single striker crossed the picket line, a point of pride for the returning workers and an impressive display of long-term unity that underscores their ongoing optimism that they will win their struggle.
Azteca workers decided to return to work the way they left on Sept. 30, 2002 when they began their strike — united and strong. On May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), Azteca strikers marched together from the strike tent to the company’s main office to notify management of their return to work.
The strikers signaled that might be returning to work but they are not giving up, chanting as they marched "ˇSí se puede!" ("Yes we can!") and "ˇQue viva la lucha para la justicia!" ("Long live the fight for justice!").
Azteca agreed to settle charges charges filed by UE Local 1159 that it illegally threatened to fire workers for union activity and that it violating their rights though intimidating interrogations and surveillance. Although admitting no wrongdoing in the settlement, Azteca must post notices in the plant that it will abide by the U.S. labor law in the future.
Returning strikers voted to continue the boycott of Azteca products and other tactics that expose Azteca’s union busting until they win a fair contract. To date, UE Local 1159 estimates that the strike and the boycott have cost the company some $15 million.
Chicago area activists are continue to press the Jewel grocery store chain to remove Azteca products from its shelves. Members of the Nicaragua Solidarity Committee Labor Rights Task Force report that they handed out hundreds of Boycott Azteca Products leaflets at three different Jewel Food Stores (Broadway and Addison, Harlem at 23rd and Southport and Addison)."
The workers ask supporters to attend upcoming actions to support their struggle for justice:
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